Friday, August 15, 2014

Scoop the Poop!

You've heard us harp on this again and again, but with the recent beach closures, we feel it's not a topic that can be understated. All poo can be a source of bacteria for our waterways, particularly when we have a large storm event.

In the city of Virginia Beach, there are more than 40,000 registered dogs (it's estimated that there are closer to 400,000 dogs total in Virginia Beach). Even with that low estimate, with the average dog pooping .75 lbs, that means 30,000 lbs of poo deposited into our watershed every day. As I'm sure you can imagine, if all of that feces is not collected, that is a LOT of bacteria. Add to that the estimated 130,503 Canadian Geese ( that reside along coastal Virginia, each producing 1 lb for 130,501 lbs/day (see previous blog entry for more on keeping them off your property), an unknown number of feral cats and wildlife, and you've got a whole lotta poo and bacteria on your hands (or at least your lawn).

Every time there is water (stormwater, car wash water, pressure washing water, pool emptying, watering plants or the yard, etc), the bacteria from any feces on the ground is going to wash away, either directly into the water, if it is on a beach or shoreline, or into a storm drain, where it will make its way into the river or the bay. Only 20% of the over 1,000 storm drains in our watershed are treated. The remaining 80% are draining directly into the river or bay.

At Lynnhaven River Now, we encourage all pet owners (especially dog owners) to sign the Scoop the Poop pledge, pick up a scarf (like Calvin is modelling above) to show others their commitment, and place a sticker on their city trash cans to remind others to scoop the poop as well. 

If your neighborhood or complex does not yet have a poop bag dispenser, we encourage you to apply for one through the askHRgreen Pet Waste Station Grant. You can find the application here. You must commit to installing the station, ensuring that it stays stocked with bags, and that the trash bag gets emptied, but the station itself is free of charge!

Of course, we'd be remiss to not mention the issue of boater discharge as well, which certainly contributes to the problem. We hope that all boaters remember that the Lynnhaven River is a NO DISCHARGE ZONE, which means no dumping, even if it treated sewage.

Bacteria in our water is a serious issue that deserves our attention and our action. On the economic side, dirty water can affect our tourism (which is largely based on our waterways). On a more personal level, it can affect our health, and our ability to enjoy the beautiful waters of Hampton Roads safely. Please, Scoop the Poop, and encourage others to do the same. It doesn't matter where you live, it's all going to the same place.

Written by Trista Imrich

No comments:

Post a Comment